Johan Ackermann says he still hopes to coach at an international level after leaving Gloucester for the Red Hurricanes in Japan.
Ackermann ended his three-year stint at Gloucester as he joined the Japanese Top League side as their new head coach.
While some may see the move as a step down – given the difference between the two clubs’ resources – Ackermann told Sport24 that he was looking for a different challenge with moving to Japan.
‘You’ll always harbour the hope that you can coach at international level,’ Ackermann said. ‘But I can’t say that my move to Japan was based solely on it.
‘I’m very grateful for the exposure that Gloucester afforded me – one could be safe in the knowledge that you were coaching at a very high level. In the end, I’m going to Docomo because it’s important to live out your life. I want to make a difference in other people’s lives, experience different cultures.
‘That said, I believe the level of competitiveness in Japanese rugby is more than high enough to help equip one for when a door at a national team opens.
‘It’s a huge but fun challenge. You’ve got your work cut out at Docomo, especially because they are traditionally strugglers. That’s why I became a coach.
‘I can always learn. I talked to a lot of people, who were just full of praise for the country. We’re all very aware of their progress. I believe people underestimate how strong the coaching in Japan is. It started with Jamie Joseph and co at the national team and there are very good coaches at club level too – guys like Hugh Reece-Edwards, Frans Ludeke, Robbie Deans and Todd Blackadder.
‘Add to that the influence of the overseas players and I really believe you operate in a very competitive environment.’
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